Thursday, November 26, 2009

SoCal: Tuition Protests & Tom Cruise

On campus at UCLA I got a taste of some of protests against the University of California tuition increases. We passed many of the buildings involved in the sit-ins some of which had signs posted in the windows.

("Freeze The Fees")

Back in San Diego we toured the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum. This massive ship houses 25 restored naval aircrafts and scores of flight simulators. The self guided audio tour takes you through the life of a naval sea man inside the ship.

To anyone familiar with the movie Top Gun seeing the sights and sounds of San Diego will bring back some familiar memories. With most of the scenes of the movie filmed in this region it is easy to be taken back into the 1986 movie. Walking through the deck of the aircraft carrier it is to see yourself on the silver screen with "Maverick" and "Goose!"

(USS Midway flight deck)

"It Never Rains In Southern California"

On my first visit to southern California in July I failed to realize the beauty of the climate here. In the middle of summer the temperature tops out at around 80 degrees (which is cold for a Georgia boy). But in the middle of November the temperature tops out at around 80 degrees! Which is amazing coming from Georgia! The other beautiful thing about the weather here is it never rains! In the four months my family has lived here it here "it has maybe rained 3 or 4 times"

On day 1 of this trip to San Diego I decided to journey with my brother through the hills of California near our home on bicycle. Not having ridden a bike for years I struggled up and downs the hills and valleys of southern Cali. Thoroughly tired and sore I was ready to head home.

Day 2 started off early with a voyage north to Los Angelos! We went on college tours of some of the best schools this region has to offer. The first tour was of the University of Southern California. Living on the east coast all you hear of USC is Trojan Football but the school as a lot to offer outside of the football field.

(USC Library)

Next stop was the University of California-Los Angelos. This week was an interesting time to visit both institutions because the inter-city rivals play in their most anticipated game of the season on Saturday. In preparation for the big USC-UCLA football game both schools took careful measure to protect the statues of their mascots from the other.

At USC a group of students known as Trojan Knights wraps Tommy Trojan in duct tape and bubble wrap and guards him 24 hours a day for the week prior to the game. UCLA takes a different approach by just installing a tarp that is dead-bolted in place. But both schools are buzzing with the excitement of the upcoming game. I don't think you could have picked a better time to visit these institutions with each school overflowing with school pride!

(UCLA campus)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Any true fan of the Bulldog Nation knows that the annual trip to see the Dawgs play in Jacksonville is a must! With a 'new breed of bulldog ready to take the field of battle' the bulldog faithful all rally in Jacksonville for the big game. The fact that the Florida Gators are the #1 team in the nation did not seem to keep any dawg fans at home. There was a strong showing of Red & Black crossing the state line for the big game.

According to the very credible source of Wikipedia: tailgating is "a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle." Normally, I am not able to tailgate because I work with the UGA Football team for home games. So I was excited about getting the opportunity to socialize with other fans prior to kickoff. For this game I was able to take tailgating to a whole new level. Tailgating in parking lots is old news, everyone who's anyone is now tailgating on yachts!

The actual football game may have had an undesirable outcome for the bulldogs but I did not let that sour my day. Good people, great food, and beautiful scenery on an amazing boat can always help relieve the pain from a loss. It's better to be a Georgia Bulldog after a loss than to support any other team! Go Dawgs!